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Claimants ‘seek to avoid court but shun mediation’

The majority of claimants in civil cases are keen to avoid court but lack enthusiasm for mediation, according to new research.

In a newly published survey of court users by the Ministry of Justice, no less than 70 per cent said they had made an effort to contact the other side in their cases to try and resolve their disputes out of court, with this figure rising to 86 per cent of people making financial claims.

But a mere 23 per cent of the respondents said they entered mediation with the other party, while close to half (43 per cent) said they had ruled it out altogether.

Most of the court users surveyed were reluctant litigants. No less than 68 per cent said they would have preferred not to go to court compared to the 14 per cent who felt motivated by the court room. The remainder did not express a preference.

Approximately 70 per cent of the claimants consulted a lawyer during the case, with the great majority retaining him or her throughout the case. Just eight per cent went from representation to litigant in person as their case progressed, the Ministry reported.

The majority of those who hired a lawyer said they had done so because they were in need of legal expertise. However, more than a third (35 per cent) said pro bono representation was an important factor in choosing their lawyer. Just over a quarter, meanwhile, cited trying to ensure the right outcome to their case was the most important factor in their choice of solicitor.

Read more here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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